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Coup leader arrest rumours strong - unconfirmed

Arrest rumours strong; unconfirmed

Issue No: 180; 6 November 2000

Rumours are strong in Suva that two of the five alleged masterminds behind the Nov. 2 attempted coup have been put under arrest by the military.

It is rumoured that a high chief and a prominent politician have already been taken in for questioning. Another is apparently on house arrest and another, who played a high profile role during the hostage crisis, will be arrested within days. The chief arrested also had close ties with former SVT minister Jim Ah Koy. The prominent politician under arrest has had his passport confiscated.

These rumours have not been confirmed by the police or the military.

What is confirmed is that the Military is aware of the masterminds and has promised to investigate their involvement with the attempted coup. Earlier, the military confiscated Major General Sitiveni Rabuka's mobile phone and the government-issued vehicle he was driving.

Meanwhile in two continuous issues in his Monday columns, journalist Mesake Koroi, a close relative of interim prime minister, has suggested that the real mastermind was the person or persons who gave the order to evacuate the President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara from Government House during the first week of the terrorist attempt to takeover government in May.

Rumours of escalation of tension within the military and the Qarase cabinet is also high.

The military confirmed that the curfew it placed on Thursday was partly in response to preventing the suspected arrival of anti-military villagers from Namosi, Rewa and Korovou into Suva. Military's Howard Politini told the Radio Fiji that they suspected that villagers were being mobilised to support the rebels at the barracks.

END 6 November 2000


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